Best Phone Interview Tips
Before you get to go to the face-to-face interview, you’ll probably have a phone interview to prove you’re worth the time, trouble and expense of a longer conversation.
Do phone interviews throw you off your game? Do you dread them? Do you feel that you don’t do as well in a phone interview as in a face-to-face interview? Lots of job seekers hate telephone interviews.
Here are 10 top phone interview tips to make sure you’re invited to interview in person.
1. Concentrate on how your voice sounds on the phone.
Without body language, professional attire and your physical demeanor, the interviewer only has your voice to judge you by and how you handle yourself verbally. Take a few deep breaths and relax before you get on the phone so your voice is calm and confident. Try smiling when you speak–it makes you seem friendlier and more confident.
2. Have all of your notes in front of you.
You should always have your resume, cover letter, names of references, and key points right there at your disposal. It’s kind of like having ‘cheat sheets’ so you don’t forget to mention anything important to this interview.
3. Prepare answers to common phone interview questions.
Typically, phone interview questions are more general than on site interview questions. They’re probably looking at your resume as they speak to you and verifying the information through questions like, “Tell me a little about your experience.” PRACTICE your answers before the call, preferably with a friend or career coach. This way, you can refine any answer that isn’t quite strong enough. Your practiced answer will make you seem more sure of yourself than one that isn’t.
4. Watch your language!
Avoid using sarcasm or making jokes that need body language or facial expressions to be funny. Because they can’t see you, it may not go over as well as you’d like.
5. Stand up while you talk.
Standing up will improve your posture and voice quality. Your voice will seem more enthusiastic and will project better.
6. Focus solely on the interview.
Don’t busy yourself with or get distracted by other things in your environment. Just because they can’t see you doesn’t mean they won’t be able to tell you’re not paying full attention.
7. Use a landline to avoid having any issues with poor reception.
Landlines are best, but if you have to use a cell phone, be sure the phone interview is set up for a time when you know you’ll have access to a quiet place that is guaranteed to have a good signal. There should be minimal distractions and outside noise such as barking dogs, traffic or people.
8. Never use your speakerphone.
Through your speakerphone, you won’t sound as clear as you’d like, and it may give the impression that you’re too busy for this call.
9. Don’t get too chatty and say too much.
The interviewer is likely taking notes as you speak and may not be focused on responding to all your points. These silent moments are not your cue to keep talking (and possibly say something you shouldn’t). Be comfortable with the silent moments and allow the interviewer to make the next move after you’ve finished answering the question completely but concisely. If you’re nervous about that, you can ask something like, “Did that answer your question, or do you need more information?”
10. Ask for the next step, just like you would in a face-to-face interview.
When you see that the interview is wrapping up, ask if you’ve given them the information they need to be comfortable moving you forward and let them know what times and dates you can interview in person. You find out if there’s something you forgot to tell them, and they commit to deciding if they want to proceed with the process or not.
Got a big phone interview coming up? Let’s make sure you’re ready with a half-hour of coaching!